“I, (Jesus), am sending you, (His 12 disciples), out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16 NIV)
Shrewd (sHrood): adjective meaning having or showing sharp powers of judgment
Perhaps in today’s vernacular, we would call this “street smarts,” which is the ability to read into someone’s motives or actions. Jesus wanted this tempered with innocence, purity, and love. They were to expect the worst while giving their best.
Little has changed today. As leaders we, too need this supernatural judgement. Our motives must be centered in love. Much damage has been wrought by impure leadership. Being in ministry for selfish gain destroys lives.
“Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey or extra tunic, or sandals, or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.” (Matthew 10:9-10 NIV)
“Then he, (Jesus), said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his lfe will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.” (Luke 9:23-24 NIV)
“And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:27 NIV)
All of these warnings remind us that self-sacrifice is a requirement. The cross is a place of execution where our agenda must die. This willingness to die for God conflicts with our natural instinct for self-preservation. Little wonder the world thinks we are nuts!
Perhaps self-sacrifice is the hardest part of discipleship. Daily abandonment of our will includes; popularity, worldly wisdom, security, safety, acceptance, and freedom. Upon completion we become a reflection or image of Christ. It’s tough!
Lord, grant me wisdom to adhere to and appreciate Your instruction. My desire is to please You. AMEN!